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27th May 2016  |  Career Management , Individuals

Collaboration and teamwork are both areas that can take time to develop and implement. More recently it’s becoming more and more common that ‘supervisors’ are becoming ‘team leaders’, and businesses are learning the true value of teamwork in the process. Here are our top ten tips on how to collaborate together successfully, to achieve something great. Whether it’s business-to-business, or simply working with colleagues; learning to collaborate with others can help you achieve your goal, enhance your leadership skills, and develop your abilities to work as a vital member of a team.

Here are our top ten tips on how to collaborate together successfully to achieve something great:

    1. Understand the bigger picture

      Make it your business to understand the bigger picture and your role in it. Know that the ‘why’ is as important as the ‘how’ and that not understanding the bigger picture could send you down the wrong path.

    2. Clarify objectives

      One of their first acts of collaboration is to clarify whether all stakeholders and group members have the same objectives, and are working through any differences. Look to prevent the misunderstandings that can cause an undercurrent of tension and impact success, before they snowball into something bigger.

    3. Agree roles and leadership

      Discuss and agree on roles and accountabilities including leadership, before moving forward. Reaching an agreement upfront saves time and builds relationships early on in a project.

    4. Know the boundaries

      Recognise when a rule or process is for governance purposes and therefore non-negotiable, and know when you can ‘beg forgiveness later’. Taking the time to understand what the non-negotiables are for each party forms a strong platform for the collaboration.

    5. Ecosystem, not ‘ego-system’

      Leave your ego at the door. Don’t tell people ‘what they need’, listen to understand the end user’s perspective, and design solutions accordingly. Finding the common ground provides greater opportunity for successful collaboration.

    6. Value diverse input

      Value and look to form a multi-disciplinary team, success comes from a team of different thinkers, each contributing their individual experience and capabilities. A united team of different thinkers can conquer the most difficult and hairy of problems.

    7. Remain open and adaptable

      Be flexible and bend and weave as new information comes to light, while staying true to your purpose, ethics and governance requirements. Master the art of looking sideways when the decision is not immediately obvious, and understand that the road to collaboration is not always straightforward.

    8. Stay curious and generous

      Great leaders and team members are curious and interested in others input and are generous in sharing information, building trust and respect. Look for opportunities to contribute to a culture of inclusiveness, as a method of strengthening collaboration.

    9. Celebrate success

      Always understand the importance of celebrating wins and recognising individual and team success to reinforce collaborative practice.

    10. Know yourself

      Above all, effective collaborators understand themselves – their strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and how they operate in a group and draw on those traits that enrich collaboration.

INS team work

Here are five things you can do today to start the practice of collaboration:

      • Look for opportunities – Start now, look for opportunities to collaborate with your colleagues, other divisions, or agencies. You don’t have to be the leader, or senior to make a difference or start a collaboration. It doesn’t have to be big and formal, as from small ideas, great big things can grow.
      • Build networks – Build your networks within your agency and cluster – set yourself a goal of building a relationship with one person in a different work of area each week. Become the person who always knows someone. Being introverted or extroverted is irrelevant in building relationships.
      • Know yourself – Honestly review your strengths and weaknesses – do you have any behaviours that get in the way of you collaborating effectively? If you do, work on them. Be self-aware when it comes to your professional capabilities.
      • Share information – Practice sharing information (without wanting something in return).You will be amazed by how quickly you can build trust and relationships.
      • CommunicateBuild on your communication skills in particular listening, using curiosity and inquiry to learn another’s perspective and conflict resolution.

Working as a team is an essential skill many recruiters and businesses value. If you would like to learn more about developing you or your team’s collaboration skills, INS offer a variety of individually catered coaching and advisory services. Take a look at our One2One career coaching to discover the true potential of collaboration, and so much more.

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